Scott sent me this opinion piece by Bill Clinton
from the LATimes. President Bush is trying to get rid of Clinton's Roadless Forest Rule, which limited logging in areas of National Forest that do not currently have roads. The current president wishes to put the burden on governors to petition to save these forests, otherwise opening them up to logging. Writes Clinton:
Opponents of the roadless rule also argue that it increases the risk of forest fires. That is wrong because the rule specifically gives the U.S. Forest Service the power to build a road, fight a fire or thin an area to reduce fire risk. And we also know from experience that the way to minimize hazards is by devoting federal resources to reducing risks near homes and communities, not by logging backcountry lands. The roadless rule struck a balance between the environment and the economy. The forest road network is already eight times as big as the interstate highway system. And our rule allows logging and other commercial activity to continue on more than half of national forest lands. In fact, the timber supply that was placed off-limits to the timber industry amounts to one-quarter of 1% of what our nation now produces.
Through Sept. 16, the Forest Service will accept public comment on the Bush plan. I encourage everyone to make his or her voice heard to ensure that America the Beautiful remains just as beautiful for generations to come
I did quite a bit of backpacking in high school in some of California's magnificent national forests, and I would hate for my children not to be able to see those gorgeous trees. I'm going to have to do some more research on the ins and outs of this rule but in the mean time, you can submit comments at the US Forest Service's site on the rule
. (Note, of course, that the U.S. Forest Service is part of the executive branch of the federal government, and like all such, is part of the Bush Administration. Yet another example of why Presidential elections matter